Grooooooooow babies!!

How 2 men + 2 women - sex + science = 2 babies!!








This is the funny, heart-warming, tearful, inspiring, and shocking truth about my journey to have a child.








How a man, another man, a woman, another woman, a couple lawyers, a few doctors, a psychologist, a couple social workers and some agencies make a baby.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Success - Part Two

Woo-hoo!  I feel successful again.  This time I don't have my blog to thank, but my agency.  My agency recently contacted me and mentioned that there is a couple in another state considering surrogacy.  The process is overwhelming and they wanted to talk with someone who has been through the experience.  They asked if I would be willing to talk with them.

um...let me think about tha--

YES!!!

I'm thrilled to be able to share my experience with other people.  I'm a little jealous of surrogates who get to "mentor" other surrogates and find surro sisters.  Can I now dub myself an Internded Parent Mentor or a Agency Big Brother?  C'mon, people, I need a cool name for myself. 

This couple read my blog as well as several other blogs I'm connected with and they mentioned that the blogs have been extremely helpful as they try to fully understand what they might go through.  So, on their behalf, and as my first official duty as a Dad-To-Be-Advistor (I'll keep working on the name) I will thank of you bloggers for helping to make a difference in at least one couple's lives.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Closing The Account

Every month I get a statement from the accountant managing the escrow money telling me how much money is left in the account.  I get charged $12 a month as a maintenance fee.  I have sent the accountant several emails asking if I can close out the account and save my money because she isn't doing anything.  After all, twelve dollars will buy enough diapers for about three hours with twins or a bottle and a half worth of formula (those supplies are expensive!).  The boys are almost seven months old and I believe, according to our contract, any costs related to the pregnancy (like lost wages or counseling if necessary) would stop twelve weeks after the birth. 

A few days ago I finally got an email from the surrogacy agency telling me that I can officially close out my escrow account.  The accountant was CC'd and I wrote a follow up email to her and I have yet to hear back from her.   

This posting, however, is not about my bad escrow accountant.  It's about the fact that once the escrow account closes I believe I will be 100% done with the surrogacy contract and the process.  Chloe and I have kept in touch.  We plan to keep in touch.  I hope the kids get to know her.  However it's a little sad and scary and odd to think about this whole ordeal...over two and a half years...coming to an end.  There will be no more legal ties to each other.

(I wrote the entry above on Wednesday.  The paragraph below is from today.)

Of course, right after I think about my formal relationship with Chloe coming to an end I go home and watch my Tivo'd episode of The New Normal.  Of course this week's episode deals with the young daughter getting upset after hearing that most surrogates and intended parents don't keep in touch after the baby/babies are born.  The surrogate in the show understands the reality of this but I was just as upset as the child on the show. 

"No," I wanted to shout back.  "We DO want to keep in touch with our surrogates." 

Because this is a Hollywood sitcom and no one wants to see a little girl cry, the intended parents made the girl a godmother to their unborn child so they would be bonded forever and everyone lived happily ever after.

That's how I hope my life will be - like a sticom.  My life is shaping up to look like one.  The show does parallel my life quite a bit and, I have a hottie husband-to-be, and like the Jewish character, I had no idea what a godparent really does.  (Luckily the show explained it to me.)  Hopefully my life will continue to look like the show where is always laughter, and a happy ending.   

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Success!

I have a Facebook friend.  It's one of those people I knew years and years ago, lost touch with her, reconnected with her on Facebook, caught up with each other, and now don't communicate much but we know the other is there if need be.  Well, "need be" happened.

This friend of mine recently sent me an email saying that she loves being pregnant but isn't sure she wants more kids.  Surrogacy is something she would consider.  She asked me a little bit about my surrogacy journey. 

I have to say I was thrilled she was considering this and honored she would share it with me.  It made my blog feel like a success.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to be a resource to others who are considering surrogacy.  I have shared a lot of personal details about my life and my story with friends and strangers who follow this blog and my Fatherhood blog.  Sometimes I feel I have shared too much...but then something like this happens and I'm glad I could be a resource for a friend who may now make some person or couple's dream come true.  I referred her to a surrogate who I met online who was willing to talk to her and, it turns out, doesn't live too far from my friend.  It just proves how our online community is there for each other and how valuable and powerful information can be.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I'm A Fan

The New Normal has had two episodes now and I love it.  I think it's hysterical.  I know some people think the show is only so-so but I love snarky, biting humor and I think there's a lot of it in the show's dialogue.  My friend noticed that there is no mention of contract negotiations, lawyers, doctors screening the surrogate and sperm donor, psychological evaluations, injecting medicines for weeks, etc.  Since when has Hollywood ever cared about accuracy??? 

Years ago I interpreted a sociology class that talked about the media's influence on society.  The professor talked about the portrayal of minority groups on TV and in films.  She said at first African Americans were only portrayed as slaves.  Then they won roles as janitors.  Later they took on roles as mail carriers, doctors and finally presidents.  Asian-American actors were only karate experts and masseuses.  Over time they became nurses, best friends and a Charlie's Angel.  Gays started out as hair dressers and florists but moved up to doctors and lawyers.  Her point was that first exposures to new groups are threatening to the majority and often they need to be shown as people without power.  While surrogates are not a threat to most people (although the NBC affiliate in Salt Lake City feels they are and refuses to air the show), we get a very one-sided, silly view of the surrogacy process to start.  Surrogates are new to TV...and let's not forget it's a sitcom too so we can't get too deep. 

Before I analyze this too much (too late) let's just celebrate the fact that there is a show on a major network talking about a surrogate working with a gay couple.  That's huge exposure and will hopefully give more people some insight into the wondeful, unique and powerful relationships that are created between surrogates and intended parents.

Oh...and I cried during both episodes.  No surprise there.  I was thinking back to when I was just getting started with my surrogate.  All the hopes, fears, nerves, joy and other emotions that I felt knowing that steps were happening to make my dream come true came flooding back.  I hope the show lasts a while so I can take this journey with these people.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Five Month Reunion

Derek and I have been trying to find time for Chloe to come see the boys again.  Between my weekend work schedule and out of towners coming to visit we had to plan a day several weeks in advance.  It finally worked out this past weekend.  I had emailed Chloe to say that she could bring her mom or anyone else she wanted to bring.  She responded by saying she was bringing four other people so it turned into a whole party.

Chloe's mom was able to join us and see the babies for the first time since the hospital.  It was nice to see her again.  I had mentioned in some previous postings how wonderful it was that she was so excited about everything going on during the pregnancy - her daughter doing something amazing, meeting the twins, Derek and I becoming dads, etc.  She really loved getting to see the boys and enjoyed playing with them.  Chloe also brought her son.  I was wondering if he would be into the babies or understand the magnitude of what his mom did.  He's 7 years old and was more interested in movies and video games than talking with the adults so I didn't get to talk with him too much.  Chloe also brought the guy she is dating and his son.  Derek and I had wondered what happened to him.  We met him one time at the fertility clinic right after she became pregnant and then never saw him again.  I would imagine starting a relationship when you are pregnant with a stranger and his partner's twins is very difficult.  So after the pregnancy was done they did get together.  I'm thrilled for her.  He was very nice and I enjoyed seeing him and getting to know him a little more.

The other fantastic news is that Chloe is starting graduate school!  I am very excited for her.  Way back when we met, Chloe had wanted to become a doctor.  It never worked out and I kept hoping that she would find another career path.  She has had a decent job but I knew it wasn't her dream.  It took a few years longer than she probably hoped, but I'm happy to announce that she will be working in the medical field in a couple years if all goes well.  The fun fact to add is that Chloe will be going to school where Derek teaches! 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Family

Last year for Christmas I was trying to figure out what to give Derek.  I found a picture frame that says "FAMILY" and has room for ten pictures around the word.  I thought this would be a great gift.  Even if we can't legally be a family (I'll save my rant on the gay marriage issue for another day) we will see proof in our home that we are, truly, a family.

We had a bunch of pictures in the frame and we recently swapped out a few for better pictures.  Our families don't live locally and we're trying to make sure we have plenty of pictures of them around so the kids know their grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins.  I saw we had a great picture of "Chloe" with the twins and after just a half a second of contemplation I put her picture in our family frame.

Chloe is a part of our family now.  As our children get older and the bond between us grows and my love for them increases I become more and more grateful to Chloe.  I still feel like I haven't been able to thank her enough.  I'll probably never feel like I have shown her enough gratitude.  I like having her picture where I can see it every day to remind me that I owe my family, to a large degree, to her.

At a time when Derek and I have to choose to be each others' family without legal rights, we choose to have Chloe be a part of our family too.  She (and a lot of her family) plan to visit us soon.  I get more and more excited counting down the days.  The relationship we have is unique.  It's strong even if we don't see each other.  It's intimate on a level that outsiders don't understand.  It's a relationship that will last for the rest of our lives even if we lose touch.  Yep...just like a family.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The New Normal

I started this entry a while ago and forgot to publish it probably due to my forgetful baby brain.  Here it is...

I love Tivo.  I'm a little bit of a TV addict.  I'm also a sign language interpreter.  So when sign language is on TV I get really excited.  It's great when a language and a culture that is often misunderstood gets some exposure to the general public and can educate people.  I put "deaf" as a keyword into Tivo and it records anything that has that word in the program description.  It's interesting to see what we get.  Tivo has recorded news stories about deaf individuals, documentaries about deaf poets, shows from the 1950s, '60s, and '70s that show how deaf people were treated at the time (as people who couldn't make decisions for themselves -- eek! or a suspect of a crime who was arrested and interrogated by police without an interpreter -- double eek!!) and even a great cartoon that showed how a deaf child uses an interpreter in school (my kids are definitely going to watch Maya and Miguel.)  I couldn't find the episode online but click here for an article about the show.

But back to the topic we ALL love: surrogacy.  I recently fell asleep on the couch and woke up to an episode of American Dad which was about the wife agreeing to be a surrogate for a gay couple who lives next door.  I don't usually watch that show, but I have to admit it was pretty funny.  Surrogacy has made its way into cartoons.

The other piece of exciting news is there will be new sitcom about a woman who is a surrogate for a gay couple.  Watch the trailer for The New Normal and you're guaranteed to laugh and cry.

I think I need my Tivo to start searching for the keyword "surrogate" since stories about surrogacy are popping up everywhere.  Who knows what I'll get to see, but I bet it will be interesting. 



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What A Difference A Year Makes

Can you believe what was happening a year ago?  Derek and I were in the doctor's office with Chloe deciding how many embryos to transfer.  We were even considering transfering three.  Three????  Was I crazy?  I love having two children.  I can't imagine my life without my two little men now.  I also can't imagine having triplets. 

A year ago we started praying...even though we're not very religious.  We ate sticky foods hoping that would make the embryos stick.  We even ate Life cereal.  I was willing to try anything after two failed attempts. 

A few weeks later the amazing news came that my surrogate was pregnant with twins.  I still was scared things wouldn't work.  We did a total of three beta tests and every time I was panicked that the numbers wouldn't be what I wanted -- but they were.  Then we had the fear of the first trimester, fear during the ultrasounds making sure the babies were growing fine, and the fear of making it to viability.  Then the day of the birth came which was filled with both excitement and anxiety hoping both my children and Chloe would be OK. 

In the past year I also got to have a wonderful baby shower and an amazing outpouring of help and love from friends and family.  I got to make four people grandparents (and two of them became grandparents for the first time), my brother became an uncle (for the first time) and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law became an aunt and uncle.  Their children were excited to hear news of their cousins.  My sister-in-law explained to her older child how two uncles would make cousins for him and, after hearing how this works, he excitedly called to his little brother, "Did you hear?  We're going to have new cousins!!!  They took an egg and put fertilizer on it!"  

This past year I also got to celebrate (through the web) the birth of so many children through surrogacy.  I hope this year brings even more good news for those of you out there still trying.

These past twelve months have, of course, been life changing.  This picture below shows the reason I am broke, sleep-deprived, getting gray hair and yet 100% happy, fulfilled and thrilled with my life. 



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Staying In Touch

I'm thrilled to see so many of my blogger friends having babies.  I feel like there is an explosion of births and/or pregnancies.  A lot of you are in your last few months -- or weeks -- or DAYS -- of pregnancy and I'm eagerly awaiting the pictures of your little ones.  All of us bloggers know how hard this journey can be and the sacrifices we make. 

I also had the pleasure of seeing my "Michaela" a couple weeks ago.  She was flying to the midwest to pick up a huge award she won (I think it was something like "top emerging new leader" in her field.  I might be slightly off but I know it was a huge deal and she deserves it 'cuz she's Michaela and she's awesome!).  She was able to stop in Chicago for about 8 hours.  She and I hadn't seen each other in person for about 10 or 11 years.  Seriously.  It had been a long time.  We became Facebook friends a few years ago and of course bonded so strongly over the last two years going through surrogacy together.  I can tell you that 8 hours isn't enough to cover everything.  I also just got a Facebook friend request from a blogger I have been following for a year or so.  I'm a little star-struck by him and his postings because they are touching and make me cry.  (You can reveal yourself if you want but I won't in case you want to preserve your anonymity for fear of being mobbed like a Hollywood A-lister.)  I've seen how bloggers fly across the country to meet people they only know online and I'm starting to think I understand that.  We have been through something so special and it's a kinda weird kinda wonderful connection we all have.

So I'm hoping that more of you will join my fatherhood blog so we can stay in touch.  And if my asking isn't enough, then maybe these pictures will convince you to follow Michael's Fatherhood Experience.  Who wouldn't want to see these cute boys grow up and hear about our adventures?  Derek and I bought one of those picture frames with 12 slots so you can see their growth over a year.  How cute was April's photo shoot?  Don't you want to see what we do for May?





Monday, April 23, 2012

The Goodbye

As you all know by now my twins were born in the wee small hours of the morning of March 27th.  Chloe did an amazing job of helping them grow big enough to not have to stay in the NICU.  We were all discharged a couple days later.  We did, however, have about two and a half days in the hospital together and I wanted to write a little bit about that.

When Derek and I talked with the staff at the hospital as Chloe was going into labor a few times they asked us directly or indirectly about whether or not we wanted to see Chloe or be on the same floor with her after the delivery.  The first time I heard the question I was a little taken aback.  Of course we wanted to be near her!  Then I remembered that not everyone has a great experience with their surrogate.  Some surrogate/IP relationships are all business and after the babies are born there is no more contact.  For me, that wasn't going to work, but I respect that situation may be the right choice for others.  So every time we were asked a question about our situation after the delivery I strongly answered that we wanted Chloe to see the babies and hold them and be near us.

The first time she got to see the twins was about half an hour after the delivery.  After the twins were born Derek and I were ushered into a room to meet them as the hospital staff continued to assess them.  At one point we were told that Chloe was in the room next door.  I looked over and saw what looked to be a sliding door.

"You mean she's there?" I asked, pointing towards the door.  "Can we open up the door now?"

The staff obliged after knowing we were OK with that arrangement.  I have to give the staff credit for respecting our wishes and the wishes of other IPs.

Soon after that Chloe went to a recovery room and I think it was about 12 hours later she came to our makeshift room where Derek and I got to stay so she could officially meet and hold the twins.  I loved seeing them together.  Of course we took pictures and talked and I probably cried a few times.  You all know that's what I do.

Since Chloe was in the room right next door we would visit with her once or twice a day.  The night before we were discharged I felt so overwhelmed trying to figure out what we could say before our final goodbye.  We knew it wasn't a "we'll never see you again" but it was the end of our contract and now we'd have to navigate our relationship post-pregnancy.

We had a card and a gift for Chloe and after hours of trying to figure out just how to say thank you I gave up and wrote a message that would just have to suffice because nothing can really thank a surrogate enough.  I wanted to post a picture of the card and gift.  I bought the card because I thought it was pretty and because the two little pearls reminded me of our two sweet embryos.  The necklace is a fire opal that Derek and I found during our Mexico trip.  I thought it was special since I had never seen that stone before and it was striking so we thought it would make a nice gift.



It was hard to say that goodbye.  So far, almost a month after delivery, we have shared pictures and seen Chloe once with the twins.  I hope we continue to be in contact and it'll be by choice, not by legal obligation.  Still, that final night in the hospital and then the actual final goodbye the next day when she was discharged was hard.

I hope Chloe will be able to see the twins are OK through my fatherhood blog.  Speaking of which, if you're not following it, you should.  My pregnancy journey was fascinating, but my fatherhood stories will be out of this world...if I'm ever awake enough to write them.  Raising twins is tiring!






Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The First Nine Months

I recently saw a surrogate write a blog entry talking about how great the kids were who she gave birth to and she was so modest she said that she couldn't really take credit for their greatness.  Well, I have to disagree.  She did more than she knew.

Two summers ago, as I was getting ready for the first transfer, my Time magazine arrived in my mailbox with a pregnant woman on the cover and the words "How the first nine months shape the rest of your life" (or something like that). 

"Don't read it," Derek said. 

He knows I worry a lot.

"I have to read it," I said.

I did.

And then I worried. 

You see, I was so concerned on finding the right egg donor because I wanted the right DNA for my children.  I looked for certain qualities thinking that my surrogate would just magically make kids with all those qualities because they were in the egg.  But this article made me realize that my surrogate had a ton of influence as to who my kids will be.  And after getting to know Chloe over almost two years I have to say I am glad I chose her.  I think she made some amazing children.

The article is kind of lengthy, but please read it.  Here is a link to Fetal Origins: How the First Nine Months Shape the Rest of Your Life

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Next Chapter - Fatherhood

I have been debating if I was going to continue blogging after the twins were born.  When I started blogging I was sure I would not continue.  I thought my blog would be for my children to know what I went through to have them and to help others in the same position as me gain support for their journeys.  Once the children arrived I thought I wouldn't see a need to continue my writing.  However, that has changed.

Blogging has allowed me to do the following...

1. Document my desire to have my children so my children know their story like I had hoped.

2. Document my story so I remember the strength I had to take this journey and the support I got from family and friends.  .

3. Allow my friends and family to share my joys with me.

4. Learn from other bloggers and read some amazing stories.

5. Make some (virtual) friends as I follow their blogs and connect with others in the same situation.

6. Enjoy some creative writing.

Several of you have posted comments asking me to continue blogging.  You have no idea how good that makes me feel.  We all want to feel our lives have value and it's touching to know that many of you -- who haven't even met me -- care about my life, my children's lives, and our stories.

Although I have a few more posts left regarding surrogacy, this blog will probably come to a close soon.  However, I do plan to continue writing on new blog.  This will be a blog about fatherhood.  I hope that this blog will serve as a record to my children, help me connect with my family and friends (near, far and virtual) and allow Chloe to follow the lives of the children she helped to bring into this world.

The new blog is

http://michaelsfatherhoodexperience.blogspot.com/

I'm hoping you all will be willing to join this blog too.  I feel I have connected with so many of you in the surrogacy/IP world and I will continue reading your stories because they bring me such joy.  Hopefully my stories will bring you joy as well.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Thank You Entry

I'm sure there are so many people I'm going to forget to thank.  This is like an Oscar speech and everyone looks back and thinks, "Oh...I should have thanked so-and-so.  I can't believe I forgot him/her."  So, If I have forgotten you, please don't take it personally.  Just look again and know that you are in included in "everyone else."  ;-)

Thank you to...

My surrogacy agency

The fertility doctor who gave me some definitive advice when I needed it (Just a Little Dab of Super Glue)

Egg donation agency #1 who guided me through the process the first time when I didn't know what I was doing and egg donor #1 (I Put All My Eggs In One Basket...)

Egg donation agency #2 and egg donor #2 (Back to Square Two)

Egg donation agency #3 (same as my surrogacy agency) and egg donor #3 (I Should Go To Vegas)

My lawyer who was awesome and treated me as a person going through an emotional journey and not just a client

Anne who talked me down during my panic attacks when this process was overwhelming

Kristine S. who I had only spoken to on Facebook for the last 20 years and told me to call her immediately when I was going through a rough patch and proved she is a true friend (She Likes Me...She Really Likes Me)

The elderly nurse who gave me a funny blog entry when I had to make my donation (Warning: Adult Content)

My former neighbor and the cashier at Babies R Us who made me realize that being gay parents won't get me weird looks because the world is accepting us more and more (Gay Parents in 2011)

Dr. L. and Barbara (my doctor friends) who answered my questions every time I bugged them

Arika, Amy, Kim, Joel, Carlyn, and Paula for parenting advice (and others who I'm sure I'm missing)

Meghan who became my twin expert

Christian and Kristine for helping navigate the baby registry and for recommending a good obgyn (Thank Goodness For Mark Zuckerberg)

Kirsten and Marty for making the baby registry day more fun and for their support (A Different Kind of Wish)

My interpreting community who was so excited for me and loved to look at ultrasound pictures (The Wee-Wee Or Hoo-Ha Appointment)

Tonya who was my first "friend" in the blogosphere universe and helped me realize I wasn't going through this alone (Babydreams2011)

All the bloggers who have become my e-family now and have given me inspiration, laughs and support (My Online Family)

Abby A. and Sheila for their beautiful baby gifts that were given to me before Derek and I had babies coming (I'm At a Loss For Words)

My Mexican dinner friends (Abby, Bethany, Jeff and Paula) who had dinner with Derek and me after the successful transfer and a special thanks to Bethany for wearing her "pregnancy dress" for good luck

Everyone who helped to organize the two baby showers and everyone who attended and helped us get the things we needed to take care of the babies (Baby Shower #1)

My 4 (yep...FOUR) friends who were serious about being my egg donor.  Your faith in me being a dad and friendship means so much. (I Put All My Eggs In One Basket...And Then the Basket Broke)

Neil Patrick Harris even though he still hasn't commented on my blog.  I'm hoping he really does follow the blog and will post something one day.  (I'm The Next Neil Patrick Harris)

Tiffany (a.k.a. Michaela) who provided amazing support while went through surrogacy together and came up with some great song ideas for our musical (My Friend Michaela)

My family (The Grandmothers To Be)

Derek (My Better Half)

Everyone else who provided support to me

And of course Chloe who stuck with me through all the ups and downs and gave me two beautiful children (The Nicest Email)

I love looking back at this journey as it nears its completion.  As you can see, these babies have had so much love and support since before they were even embryos.  This journey has been incredible.  It has been an experience like no other and very few people get to go through the extreme heartache and celebration that comes with something like this.  I hope that those of you going through this process have the same success I did.  I know how strong the feelings are to become a parent and I feel so fortunate to make my dreams come true and I want the same for everyone else with that passion.  I also have to thank egg donors and surrogates for what they do.  Some of the blogs I have seen have a picture that says, "I make families.  What's your special power?"  There are very few powers that can compete with what these women do for people like me.  So thank you and know that not a day will go by that we don't thank you for your help.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pictures!

They're finally here.  You all get to see pictures -- and a couple of videos -- of the cutest babies on earth.  They are, in fact, the cutest babies on earth as judged by Derek and me.  And I swear we were completely unbiased judges.  ;-)


Aaron and Jeff's first picture
Me with the twins
Jeff and Aaron wearing the hats the surrogate made
The first family portrait
Sleeping Aaron

Sleeping Jeff

They love each other




Derek also is turning into quite the camera man.  Here is a video of Derek holding the babies when they are three days old.  It's "The Twins Making Derek Fall In Love With Them."

And Derek somehow had the sense to film "Aaron's First Feeding."  We had been awake for almost 24 hours and he still had the skill and the sense to capture this beautifully.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Few Days Early

Chloe had one more doctor's appointment before the big induction day on March 30th.  On Monday, March 26th Chloe was scheduled to go to the doctor at 1:15 PM to check her blood pressure and make sure everything was OK for Friday.  Easy peasy...right? 

I figured it would only be a 5 minute doctor appointment but by 2:23 PM there was no response to my text or call.  Weird.  I thought the doctor would look at Chloe and say, "Yep...you're swollen...stay off your feet until Friday" and then I'd see her at 4:30 AM on the 30th. 

At 3:06 PM Chloe calls.  Finally!  I know she'll tell me she's fine and just ate a cheeseburger and a drank a milkshake and that's why she was so late in calling, right? 

Me: Hi Chloe.
Chloe: (calm voice) Hey Michael.  How are you doing? 
Me: I'm good.  More importantly how are you doing?
Chloe: I'm good too.  You know I had a doctor's appointment today, right?
Me: Yeah, how did everything go?
Chloe: Well, the doctor said I don't have preeclampsia now but I'm moving in that direction so they decided to induce today.  I'm going to the hospital now.
Me: Ummmm...OK...ummmmm  (something that wasn't English, a lot of crying and several "thank you" type mumblings).

I won't bore you with every detail of every minute at this point.  Basically, though, I called Derek's work and cell phone again and again and again and even called the front desk and had him paged.  He was in a meeting telling everyone that Friday was the big day.  (Ummmm...guess again.)

Derek, Chloe, Chloe's mom, Chloe's sister and I arrived at the hospital.  Chloe was at 1.5 cm like she had been for a long time. 

Start the pitocin.

Chloe wasn't even aware she was having contractions.  We had to tell her when they were happening on the monitor.

Increase the pitocin.

Chloe started to feel some contractions but continued to watch TV.

Increase the pitocin.

Chloe barely winced during contractions.

Check Chloe - 2.5 cm after 4 hours.  Grrrrrrr....

Increase the pitocin.

Chloe evenutally asked for her epidural around 11pm or midnight. 

Increase the pitocin.

At 1:00 AM she is still at 2.5 cm.  Chloe's sister goes home.  Chloe's mom tries to sleep in the room. 

Increase the pitocin.

At 2:45 AM Derek and I finally try to sleep in the family waiting area down the hall because we are 100% sure the babies won't be here for a while.

Fifteen minutes later my phone rings.  It's Chloe's mom calling from the room saying Chloe is suddenly at 10 cm and she'll be pushing soon.

(More of something that isn't English, a lot of crying and several "thank you" type mumblings.)

We rush into the room and about 3:20 AM Chloe and her mom are escorted to the OR for the twin delivery. 

Derek and I waited and figured we'd have to wait an hour or two. 

At 3:47ish someone comes into the room with an update.

"You have two boys.  The first was born at 3:37.  The second was breech and was born at 3:41.  Both vaginal deliveries."

(More of something that isn't English, a lot of crying and several "thank you" type mumblings.)

Derek and I were brought back to meet our boys.  Aaron Mitchell was born first and was 5 lbs. 10 oz. Jeffrey Alan came second at 6 lbs. 11 oz.

All is well.  We'll be discharged in about 12 hours and when we're home I'll try to get a couple pictures posted.  Although this surrogacy journey has ended and the parenthood journey is beginning, stay tuned.  I still have a few more stories to tell about this wonderful story of how I got a family.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why Chloe Is a Rock Star and More Pictures

I was texting with Chloe last night and asked how she was doing.  She said it's pretty much the same.  I then asked if she was going to try eating spicy foods or exercising to help start labor.  She said she was going to hold out.  She's amazing to keep this up.  Chloe also said the hospital had called her to say she has to be at the hospital at 4:30AM on Friday to start the induction.  So we officially have a date and time for the beginning of the end of this journey.  It's exciting of course, but there is a little sadness that this journey has a very large and important chapter coming to a close.  Of course the excitement far outweighs the sadness.  

I also have more pictures from the baby shower in Chicago.  My dad loves to take pictures.  When digital cameras were invented and he could click, click, click and not waste film it was like a dream come true.  Sometimes my family thinks he takes too many pictures.  With babies on the way, I think we may have to eat our words.  I'm sure we'll be happy to have a family photographer.  Here are a bunch of pictures he took at the shower that I'm thrilled we have to remember the special day.


A Baby Breeza so we can feed the twins healthy fruits and vegetables.

Wall decals.  I can't wait to put these up!


The bowl that defies gravity.

Bibs and bottles - definitely necessary.

First books to make our kids smart.
Hand rattles.  We're bringing those to the hospital with us.

Cutest...bibs...ever.

Some of the softest blankets AND they match out theme.
A drain for the 1,437,392 bottles we'll be cleaning.

I haven't quite figured out all the uses for a boppy but I hear they are invaluable.

Books including a book about the bond between a dad and his child. 
Animal blankets - Derek's nephew LOVES these.

Cute clothes and clay to remember their feet and hands when born.

Toys!  Love toys!

To help with bath time.
And more bath time fun.
Gosh, babies need a lot to take a bath.

"My Soft Shabbat Set."  How cute.  Plus challah, candles and even wine. 
The crotchet hats and pictures from Chloe.
The party decoration which will be hung in our home.
The awesome gift containing advice from all of our friends and family at the party.

Friday, March 23, 2012

No Eviction Yet

About two weeks ago Chloe told Derek she was starting to get uncomfortable.  We knew it was bound to happen and were thrilled that she made it about 35ish weeks without any major issues and very few minor issues except the never-ending nausea she had for the first trimester.  Last weekend I asked Chloe how she was doing and her response was that her feet were so swollen she could barely walk.  I told her that she must be making such a nice home for the babies that they don't want to come out, but I think she's ready to be done with this pregnancy.  She's like a landlord who is unable to evict her tenants even though they keep her up at night and steal food from her fridge.  Wait...isn't that what teenagers do too?  Who knew bad tenants, fetuses and teenagers are all the same?

When the process started I didn't think about how it would feel to watch someone suffer for a few weeks for my benefit.  OK, maybe "suffer" is too strong of a word.  But it is a little hard to know what Chloe is going through for me.  I wish I could help and do something, but we all know I can't really do much except offer to drive her to appointments or bring her some chocolate since chocolate makes everyone feel better.

Wednesday was the doctor's appointment.  When Chloe showed up she revealed her feet which were extremely swollen.  She wasn't kidding.  At least we had a little fun in the waiting room with another lady.  Chloe and this other patient were comparing their swollen feet.  Also, the weather is extremely warm for March all of a sudden so Chloe can wear sandals.

First we had the ultrasound.  Our awesome technician told us again that Derek and I have to bring the babies to the office so she can meet them and know the genders!  I  hope to do that.  My lawyer works about a half mile from the OBGYN's office so hopefully we can swing by both places in one day and show off the twins.  The technician also gave us the estimated weights of the babies.  Their weights are 7lbs 1oz and 6lbs 15oz.  Yikes.  The estimate is +/- 25%.  We're hoping to minus a few ounces, not add any! 

Chloe went into the doctor alone - like she always does - and while Derek, Chloe's mom and I were waiting I thought, "What if the doctor thinks the swelling is so bad that we are sent to the hospital right away?  I could have babies in a few hours."  As prepared as I am and as ready as I am to meet these little munchkins it was a little bit of an overwhelming thought.  

Derek and I went into the doctor's office with Chloe for the last part of the appointment.  The doctor said that Chloe is doing well and doesn't have preeclampsia so there is no reason to induce yet.  (I couldn't decide if I was relieved for me or sad for Chloe or both.)  Chloe will go into the office for one more visit on Monday to have her blood pressure checked and if she's still OK then we won't induce until next Friday. 

So that means no news yet.  You can still vote on the twins' gender or their due date and weight.  Keep an eye out for the big post that will come in 7 days or less. I sent Chloe a cookie recipe to induce birth - Jump Start Your Labor Cookies.  If she bakes them I'll let you all know to be on high alert for Baby Watch 2012.

Friday, March 16, 2012

My Name Is Michael and I'm a Blog Addict

Who knew when I started this blog about two years ago that it would mean so much to me?  I didn't.  I had no idea I'd make friends, find support and encouragement, get advice, and follow some amazing stories that included heartbreak and humor.  When I go out of town and lose internet access I can't wait until I come back home to catch up on my stories.  (Yes, these blogs to me are like soap operas to little, old ladies.) 

I also know that I started this blog to try to help others in the future deal with surrogacy.  Here are some lessons I learned.  At the bottom, feel free to add any more lessons you feel my readers should know.

1. This is not easy.  Had I known what I was getting into I still would have done it, but I might have braced myself better.  I didn't know there were lawyers, contracts for egg donors, contracts for surrogates, fertility center doctors, OBGYN doctors, parentage paperwork, and more.  It was a lot to juggle.  You have to take things as they come and focus on one thing at a time.  Then it becomes manageable.  I thought one agency would take care of everything -- I was wrong.

2. This is expensive.  I knew how much the surrogate cost.  I didn't factor in the agency costs, egg donation costs, contract fees, parentage paperwork fees, estate planning (required in the surrogacy contract), hospital fees, blood work, DNA testing, travel expenses, maternity clothes, sperm analysis, egg donor travel expenses, medicine for the surrogate, and more.  It's a lot.  My insurance covered nothing because I don't have a fertility problem.  (That's a topic to deal with on another day.)  My surrogate picked a health insurance that will cover the OBGYN visits and delivery.  (I was very lucky on that one.)    I'm fortunate that I was able to pay for it all.  Not many people can do what I did and it's sad to know money prevents dreams from coming true.  Just know that it is expensive and whatever you think you're going to pay is wrong and it will be more than you predict.

3. A support system is necessary.  Whether it's a partner, friends, family, other people who have been there before, bloggers, agency workers or anyone else, get people who will help you through the rough patches.  There will be rough patches.  If you can make it through, the payoff is worth it. 

4. Learn to trust your surrogate.  I didn't at first and I'm sorry I didn't.  I do worry.  My lawyer had warned me that if I couldn't trust someone to carry my child that I shouldn't do surrogacy.  I wanted to be a dad so badly I said I could.  It was hard at first.  In a way I'm a little grateful that the pregnancy didn't take until the third time because it gave me more time to get to know Chloe and trust her more.  I still worried, but she proved herself by sticking with me, dealing with headaches and nausea, keeping in touch with me via email, filling out required paperwork and being sympathetic when the pregnancies didn't work.  I really do trust her now.  Trust always takes time.  I'm sure every parent-to-be will worry.  Reading surrogate blogs helped me realize how invested surrogates are in the success of these pregnancies and made me worry less.

5. Think before you blog.  I love having a memory of this whole experience.  I hope my children use this blog to know how much I wanted them.  I also think it has been great for me to remember my journey.  It was great for my friends and family to keep up with what has been happening with this endeavor.  But make sure you know what you're writing.  It's there for anyone and everyone to see.   

6. Get up after you're knocked down. I remember being told that 90% of people leave the surrogacy process as parents. I also was told that there was about a 75% chance of pregnancy with two fresh embryos transferred. I was told there was about a 50% chance of a pregnancy with two frozen embryos transferred. These numbers sounded so good. You all know, though, that my story took three tries and three egg donors. I am part of that 90%, but it took time. It's hard to get back up after being knocked down a few times. Keep remembering why you're fighting and rely on your friends to help you through.

7. Live for now.  I live with very few regrets.  I believe (thanks to my mom's advice) you make a decision at any given time because that's the best decision at that time.  Believing is one thing, doing is another.  I focus on the future.  I am already freaking out about how to pay for two kids in college at the same time.  This 18-years-into-the-future-freak-out last week made me stop in my tracks and say to myself, "Enjoy your babies while they are babies and don't miss this time."  I'm going to try to live in the moment more.  Planning is good.  We have to plan for the future, but not if I ignore the present day.

I'm sure there are more lessons to be learned.  If you have more - friends, family, surrogates, parents, or parents to be/IP (intended parents) let's share them with each other.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The 3:30 A.M. Call

I swore I would start sleeping by my phone on February 1st.  February 1st came and I decided that was really just a little too early.  We still had about two months until the twins were coming.  February 15th would be better.

February 15th approached and I thought to myself, "We're still weeks away from the adjusted due date for twins.  I don't really have to sleep with my phone.  I'll start later."

As March 1st drew closer and closer I decided it was time.  The April 11th due date wasn't going to happen for sure.  The March 28th (which became March 30th) induction date was a good date to hope for, but since twins are born on average at 37 weeks that put us at March 21st.  Then I remembered it was that twins were born on average at 37 weeks.  If I remember my 3rd grade math correctly an average means that there is a 50% chance that the twins would be born after March 21st but also a 50% chance that the twins would be born BEFORE March 21st. 

OK...time to start sleeping with my phone.

I, like many people, get emails sent to me all night every night.  I didn't want my phone beeping and buzzing all night just to tell me that Groupon has a great deal on socks or Netflix recommends I put some obscure Bulgarian movie in my queue.  I found out that I could set my phone to be silent except for phone calls.

Problem solved.

Or so I thought.

I forgot to take into account that people call me in the middle of the night.  I work for a hospital and I freelance for several agencies too.  As much as I'd love for no deaf person to ever need an interpreter from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. to ensure I get my beauty rest, that clearly is only a dream. 

Early this morning I think I was half awake...or maybe I wasn't...it's hard to know at that time of night.  I was having a nice dream about visiting a friend who had just bought a beautful house.  He was showing me all the rooms he had.  The carpeting was plush and he had plenty of --

RRRRRRRIIIIIIINNNNNNGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!

"This is it," I thought.  "Chloe is calling." 

I didn't know if I should be excited or scared.  I picked up the phone as Derek started to wake up.  There it was on my caller ID...my boss???

Well, long story short, the hospital needed an interpreter and here I am at 6:30 a.m. trying to stay awake until I'm finish my regularly scheduled shift at 6 p.m.  Wish me luck making it through this day.  At least I know I'll be able to wake up if Chloe's call does come in the middle of the night.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pictures!

Here are some pictures of the Chicago baby shower.  Yep, they're finally here.  It took me a while because I needed to do a little bit of editing.  (We've learned that I'm clearly not a photo editor and that I should stick to my day job.)   I didn't feel it was right to post pictures of Chloe on the internet.  So, instead of Chloe, you see the actress that will play her in the smash Broadway musical and blockbuster movie and the real pictures will be for our family to love and cherish.  And besides, now I can say that I've had my picture taken with Jennifer Hudson. 

Also, the Iowa baby shower was amazing.  The Chicago shower was mostly my friends and the Iowa shower was people who I had met once or twice or not at all.  Everyone was so wonderful and happy to meet me and congratulated me and told me what an exciting adventure parenthood will be.  I wasn't planning on saying anything, but since there was so much enthusiasm about the babies I mentioned that we might be in Iowa in the fall.  I applied to give a workshop at a conference and if it's accepted we would be able to show off the babies on the way to the conference.  Of course everyone got their hopes up that they'll get to meet these two bundles of joy.  We'll see if that actually happens or not.  I hope it does since these people were generous and loving and supportive of Derek and me. 


The whole party
The grandmothers-to-be

We had a ton of gifts



Everyone had fun -- even the kids


Friends and family at the party


The cutest cake ever!





The family

The gifts at home...and that was only the first shower

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Twin Facts

I was planning on just cutting and pasting twin facts, but I think you all deserve a little update as well.  There isn't a ton to say, but here's what's going on in my life...

1. My surrogate is off work now even though my surrogacy agency said she wasn't supposed to be off work until next week.  I think I have to pay lost wages for a few weeks but I guess I can't complain.  Chloe has been a rock star to make it 35 weeks in such great shape.

2. My whole FMLA issue is still up in the air.  I may qualify or I may miss the minimum number of hours by just a few.  I talked with my boss today and she seems willing to let me take off one day a week and work one day a week at the hospital.  As long as I have one day off a week I won't need child care for a couple months.  My friend says if I don't qualify for FMLA I should try to get a doctor's note for stress and use my sick leave.  I am stressed...but what parent-to-be isn't???

3. Derek and I just got approved for a new apartment.  It's more than we were hoping to spend (but just barely in our budget) and the stress of moving a month after the babies come isn't fun.  But the apartment will be better, it's closer to work, and we'll have in-unit laundry and parking.  Woo-hoo!!!  I wasn't sure if we had to disclose we will be having babies are not.  I called a housing rights group today and asked them.  They said because we don't actually have the babies now and we don't know what will happen in a couple weeks we don't legally have to disclose it.  I'm a little sorry for my neighbors who may hear babies crying, but I guess that's how it goes when you live in an apartment.  Any lawyers out there or parents with babies know any rules about this?

Now, the fun part of the posting.  At work I give a report of what happened and I always add a "medical fact of the day."  Just something random about our bodies that may just pop up one day while interpreting.  Today, I decided to research twin facts.  I found 20 cool facts.  Here they are...

1. A whopping 22% of twins are left handed. Amongst the general population, the number shrinks to 10%. Handedness isn't always a clearly genetic trait, and the factors that go into it can be quite complex. In fact, scientists are not even entirely sure how or why so many twins are left-handed – just that it very likely has to do with a connection between a genetic predisposition for twinning and a genetic bias for left handedness. Why are the two connected? We still don't know.


2. Rates of twin births vary by location. Certain areas of the world and our own nation have much higher rates of twin births than other places. For instance, if you live in Massachusetts, New Jersey or Connecticut, the twinning rate is 25% higher than the general populace. On the flip side, Hawaii and New Mexico have a twin birth rate 30% lower than that of the national average. Scientists believe that this propensity for multiple births is the product of multiple factors involving fertility drugs, heredity, food choices and age.

3. While most people are only familiar with identical and fraternal twins, there are actually 7 different types of twins. They are: identical, fraternal, half-identical, mirror image twins, mixed chromosome twins, superfecundation, and superfetation. Those other than identical and fraternal can be quite rare.

4. Twins do not have to be born on the same date. In fact, they can be born surprisingly far apart. The longest recorded gap between twin births is 85 days. How does this happen? The simplest explanation comes when one twin is born just before midnight and the other after. In cases where there is a longer gap, it's often because one twin is born early due to complications, while the other is left in the womb to further develop. This is much safer for the second baby and can help improve survival rates.

5. Twins do not have to have the same father. While we often think of twins as having the same mother and father, it's possible for a woman to give birth to two children on the same day who don't share a father. This phenomenon is called heteropaternal superfecundation. It happens when a woman releases multiple eggs, each fertilized by sperm from separate instances of sexual intercourse. It's uncommon, but genetic testing has shown that it is possible.

6. Identical twins have different fingerprints. Some people might think that identical twins are the same right down to those whorls and swirls on their fingerprints, but while identical twins share most of their genetic material, identical fingerprints aren't among them. While the fingerprints may be very similar, on close examination it is possible to tell them apart – much like the twins themselves.

7. About 25% of identical twins are called mirror image twins. This means that they are, in fact, identical, but only in the way that your reflection in a mirror is an identical image of you. For example, if one twin has a mole under her right eye, the other will have it under her left eye. Scientists think this is due to the fertilized egg splitting later than the norm for identical twins, around nine to twelve days after fertilization.

8. Identical twins have almost identical brainwave patterns. The notion that twins think alike just might be true. Research on identical twins shows that they have almost perfectly matching brainwave patterns. Some think this could explain twins' abilities to know what the other is thinking and feeling.

9. Twins can celebrate their twinning in Twinsberg, Ohio. If you or your children are twins, you can head to this city in Ohio to celebrate the Twins Days Festival. You'll be amid a sea of look-alikes, with twins, triplets and multiples from all over the nation converging on this town to celebrate being a twin.

10. Twins often develop their own language. This phenomena is called idioglossia. It's something that has fascinated people about twins for years, but it's really a relatively simple and easily understandable process. It happens when one twin models the disordered or incorrect speech of the other, leading to both twins using the same grammatical or speech sound errors. It sounds like a foreign language, but is really just a normal part of cognitive development.

11. Identical twins can be of different sexes. It might sound strange to stay that identical twins can be different when it comes to gender, but technically speaking it is possible. It happens when the egg splitting process doesn't happen quite as it should, resulting in twins that display genetic abnormalities like Klinefelter's syndrome. This means one twin might have the right correlation of XX or XY while the other has XXY.

12. Twins share DNA, but it is not identical. While identical twins come from the same sperm and egg, their DNA isn't necessarily identical, according to new research. Scientists used to think differences in twins were due to environmental factors; they now know that isn't the only force causing variations. Genetic studies have demonstrated that there are certain points where twins will veer away from one another, with one carrying different or multiple copies of the same gene.

13. Certain diets may increase your chances of having twins. What a woman eats can help increase her chances of having twins, or so researchers think. While genetics obviously plays a big role, diet can also influence this phenomenon. Researchers have found that women who eat dairy and animal products are much more likely to have twins than those that don't. This is likely due to a protein called IGF that increases the sensitivity of the ovaries to hormones that cause ovulation.

14. Fraternal twinning is genetically predisposed. Identical twinning is random. Fraternal twinning is the result of a woman releasing multiple eggs at the same time, and is largely the result of a genetic predisposition to release this extras. Identical twins, however, are the result of a random split of a single egg, something which cannot be genetically predisposed. In recent years, the number of fraternal twins has risen in response to fertility treatments, while the number of identical twin births has stayed the same.

15. Fraternal twins can have vastly different skin colors. This is an incredibly rare phenomenon (the odds of such births are 1 in a million according to some experts), but it does happen. When parents of mixed or different races have twins, they can have quite different skin colors upon birth. A number of cases have made the news in recent years and have fascinated the public at large. Because fraternal twins don't share identical genetic material, one may inherit the genes for one skin color, the other another. The parents provide potential coding for either.

16. Twins can have different gestational age. When it comes to fraternal twins, fertilization doesn't always have to happen at the same time. Fraternal twinning is the product of releasing two eggs within the same cycle, and the eggs are not necessarily released on the same day. One egg may be fertilized days (even weeks) before the other, leading to a difference – however slight – in the age and development of the twins.

17. 27 lbs and 12oz is the heaviest combined birth weight of any set of twins. if you think it would be rough to carry around and deliver one 14-pound baby, then imagine doing it with two. That's just what happened in this case, the largest twin birth on record. Of course, it doesn't hold a candle to the largest singleton birth weight of 23 pounds.

18. Twins separated at birth and reunited are often found to be eerily similar in personality and interests. The studies that discovered this fact, however, have widely been condemned as some of the cruelest and morally repugnant in medical history. During the 60's and 70's, identical twins were separated at birth in an attempt to determine whether it was nature or nurture that determined their personalities. However unethical, the study demonstrated that a great deal of who we are comes from our genes; many of the twins bore uncanny similarities in personality and preferences despite spending decades apart.

19. Scientists believe that the number of twin conceptions greatly outnumbers the number of twin births. Twin conceptions are much more common than many people realize. Of course, these conceptions do not always result in the birth of two healthy babies. Very often, one of the fertilized eggs or embryos will be reabsorbed into the mother's womb in a phenomenon called "vanishing twin syndrome."

20. The incidence of twin types and genders are oddly symmetrical. These facts about twinning are sure to leave you in awe. One third of all twins born are identical, one third are same sex fraternal and one third are male/female fraternal. Of the identical twins, half are male/male and half are female/female. Of the same sex fraternal, half are male/male and half are female/female.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Time Is Running Out

Chloe recently went to the doctor and emailed me to say not to worry, but there is some softening and dilation.  So click below!  Plus, this vote is an easier decision to make than who to vote for in the Republican primary.  ;-)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Baby Shower #1

I haven't written in weeks.  I started writing two or three other posts and just didn't feel like they were right.  One was about the fact that nothing was happening but I decided that it was too boring to post.  One was a rant about the cost of living these days and how sad it is that two professionals can barely make ends meet but I decided that was too angry and preachy to post.  So I decided to just not post.

I still don't have too much to say, but in this case "no news is good news" really holds true.  The pregnancy has still been going well.  The kiddies are kicking a lot and not letting Chloe sleep soundly.  She's a little tired at the end of the day, but except for that everything seems fine. 

This weekend was the first baby shower which was thrown by my Chicago friends.  The weekend kind of started on Wednesday when my parents arrived from out of town.  Chloe said it was OK for my parents to come to the doctor's appointment and ultrasound.  My dad, who was a doctor before he retired, had seen ultrasounds before.  My mom decided to come in and watch the ultrasound.  We got great news.  Baby A's head is actually down like the doctor had suspected during last week's appointment and at 33 weeks the baby's position probably will not change.  So hopefully we will avoid the dreaded C-word most pregnant women don't want to hear.  We also got to see Baby A and Baby B open and close their mouths.  It was adorable.

On Friday afternoon we decided to open the presents that had been sent to our house.  We got books, blankets, clothes, the car seats and more.  A very generous high school friend of mine (who spent waaaaaay too much and I need to make an shrine to her in the babies' room) sent us several things including the diaper genie, refill bags for the genie and a cute Baby Einstein toy.  We got a baby monitor thanks to Aunt A, Uncle A and our nephews.  Uncle M sent us several things like bath towels and the most adorable plush rocking horse that sings.

Sunday was the big day and my friends (Bethany, Nannette, Alli, Ali, and Jon with the help of Jeff, Abby, my parents, Derek's mom and Jacki and Shelly) threw Derek and me an amazing shower.  So many friends showed up that we needed more chairs than we could find.  If the saying "It takes a village to raise a child" is true I'll be OK because I saw all the support I have from my friends and family.  We got so many wonderful and generous gifts including a Baby Magic Bullet, decals for the walls, bottles, books, blankets, clothes, a boppy and boppy cover, a baby sling and more.  We had the cutest cake and I will hopefully get pictures up soon so you can see it. 

Chloe did come to shower and I want to say thanks to all of the surrogates and IPs who encouraged me to invite her.  It was so nice to have her meet my family and friends.  Chloe brought Derek and me a beautiful gift.  It was a photo frame with three pictures: one was a Baby A ultrasound picture, one was a Baby B ultrasound picture and one was a belly picture.  She also likes to crotchet and made two adorable hats for the baby.  We can't wait for the babies to wear them. 

My hosting friends also made two books.  The first book was for Chloe.  They asked people to bring thank you notes for Chloe.  I didn't get to see the letters because they were personal, but from time to time during the party I saw Chloe flipping through the book and smiling.  I'm sure the letters were wonderful becuase I have friends who are wonderful.

Derek and I also got a scrapbook where everyone could write in parenting tips.  We got advice on feeding, songs, books, play time, nap time, cleaning, rules, equipment and more.  It's nice to have a book of tips to turn to from people we love and trust.  If you have more ideas let me know.  I'll print out the suggestions and put them in the book.

It was a fun weekend and it made me even more excited to meet these two, cute, little babies.  Next weekend we're off to Iowa to do this all over again with a bunch of Derek's friends.

Friday, February 3, 2012

How Car Seats and Poop Affect Me

There isn't much to report and yet I feel like I have so much going on.  I guess I should say that there isn't much going on that is newsworthy.

I called the hospital and took care of some more paperwork.  I have a very nice contact there who has been extremely helpful to the point that I want to find her boss to praise her.  I called a pediatrician's office so that we can have a pediatrician check on the kids when they are born because the pediatrician we picked doesn't have privileges at the hospital where they will be delivered.  I got more money sent off to my escrow account.  Chloe did her gestational diabetes test and it turned out to be negative so that was good news for her and the babies.  I picked up some more hours at work so hopefully I'll make my 1,250 hours and qualify for FMLA.  The registries are set although Derek and I still have to pick cribs and mattresses. 

According to Jewish tradition we're not suppposed to have anything in the house until the babies are born.  A few thousand years ago when people made their own clothing and only breastfed that might have worked fine.  Nowadays I need my binkies, boppies, bottles and blankies the first day the babies come home.  I have been resistant to having too much in the house but at 30 weeks it is time to prepare.

My wonderful cousin, Wendy, bought us the car seats from the registry.  They arrived yesterday and it was exciting and a little scary to bring them into the house.  Yes, we have a couple of other Target packages that were sent to our home, but there's nothing identifying them as having baby stuff.  The car seats are clearly marked.

This may seem melodramatic, but it was kind of a big deal for me.  It was one more moment (a big moment) that makes being a father seem a little more real to me.  There are moments when it still doesn't seem real, but seeing proof every day will help me know that my dream is coming true.

Tomorrow I'm taking my first parenting class.  My friend learned about the different kinds of poop when she took her class.  Poop is my kryptonite.  At work I'll see a festering wound or watch blood spurting out of body parts without batting an eye, but poop makes me want to run out of the room.  I've built up some tolerance since adopting cats.  I have built up more tolerance since moving in with Derek.  No...don't go there; it's not what you think.  Derek has a cat who doesn't cover his rather smelly poops.  I'm sure, though, nothing will prepare me for the first "poo-nami" or "lolla-poop-looza."  I did just take a baby poop test at http://www.babyzone.com/baby/care/diapers-digestion/quiz/baby-poop-iq and got a 26 our of 33 so it says I'm a pro when it comes to poop. 

On a lighter note, it looks like most people think that I'm having a boy and a girl.  We have a few weeks left to guess.  And, if you're up for guessing some specifics, guess their birth weight, length, and date at ExpectNet.com.  The link is on the right side of my blog.  I just changed my vote.  Keep in mind the babies were a lot heavier than average babies at the last ultrasound, they have leg bones that were measured around the 90th percentile and they will be here one way or another by about 38-ish weeks which is March 28th although my OB is on call that weekend so it could be pushed to a few days later.